“Experience plays a role,” Duncan said after remaining unbeaten in Game 5 of the Finals (4-0). “We’ve been in situations like this. We’ve been together for a long time. I think we’re just trying to do all we can to will it to happen.”
The Spurs have never trailed in five trips to the NBA Finals and now Duncan, Parker and Ginobili are one win from winning their fourth championship in 10 seasons together — and first since 2007. Parker scored 26 points, refusing to be held back by a strained right hamstring that he said could “tear any time now,” and heard chants of, “MVP! MVP.”
Ginobili had his best game of the series with 24 points and 10 assists and heard chants of “Manu! Manu! Manu!” And the understated Duncan had 17 points and 12 rebounds and needed no special recognition after his teammates won a game in which the Spurs never trailed.
The defending champion Heat now faces elimination for the second time this postseason and third time since Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh came together. Miami survived both instances in the conference finals, defeating Boston and Indiana in seven games. But two years ago, the trio lost at home to Dallas in Game 6.
“We’re going to see if we’re a better team than we were our first season together,” James said after scoring 25 points on just 8-of-22 shooting.
The Heat has not won consecutive games since the second round of the playoffs, alternating wins and losses over its past 12 games, but has no choice but to win the last two if it wants to repeat. Since the NBA went to the 2-3-2 format, three of the past eight teams that went home trailing 3-2 have gone on to win the championship.
“You can’t win a game with a statistic,” Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You’ve got to win it on the court.”
In its previous game, the Heat showed how dangerous it can be when James, Wade and Bosh play well. After combining for 85 points in Game 4, the trio had 66 points on Sunday and didn’t get much help outside of Ray Allen, who came off the bench and scored a series-high 21 points.
Allen also had to watch as Spurs guard Danny Green smashed his record for three-pointers in the Finals. Green remained flammable from long distance as he scored 24 points and made six three-pointers. Green has gone 25 of 38 from three-point range this series, surpassing Allen’s record of 22 three-pointers — set over six games in 2008 — with a three-pointer in the third quarter.